Rabbi’s Purim Message

Posted on: March 14, 2016
Purim in Forest Hill synagogue

The Antidote to Haman: Jewish Unity

The festival of Purim is generally known as a time of revelry and merrymaking. A time when we let our hair down celebrating our salvation from the wicked Haman who wanted to annihilate the Jewish People. This celebration has not lost its meaning for us throughout the centuries, for in each generation another ‘Haman’ sought to accomplish the same goal as their spiritual predecessor. In our generation too, there is no shortage of those who would wipe us off the map.

The spiritual antidote to these ’Hamans’ lies in the celebration of Purim. The Rebbe of Vorki is quoted as saying “Haman denigrated the Jewish People saying that we are “Mefuzar Umeforad” – scattered and dispersed throughout the provinces of Achashverosh (Esther 3:8), we counteract that by emphasizing our togetherness and interconnectedness in our Purim celebrations.”

As we examine all of the traditional observances of Purim we find one central theme, that of Jewish Unity and fraternity. Obviously, the mitzvot of Mishloach Manot and Matanot La’evyonim, sending gifts of food to friends and monetary gifts to the poor have the characteristic of fostering good will between our people; by exchanging gifts with one another and bestowing gifts upon the poor, we highlight the Talmudic dictum “Kol Yisrael Areivim Ze Bazeh” – “All of Israel are responsible for one another,” we are all interdependent.

The reading of the Megillah too, reflects the principle of Jewish Unity, as the Shulchan Aruch, The Code of Jewish Law states that one must endeavor to organize the reading of the Megillah with as large a crowd as possible, “B’rov Am Hadrat Melech” the honor of Hashem is greatest among many people.

This brings us to Se’udat Purim – the Purim Feast. Here too we find the theme of Jewish Unity. What better way to foster togetherness among our people than by sitting together and partaking of a festive meal? The Talmud tells us “gedola legima shemikarevet,” eating together has the unique power of bringing people closer together. It is my sincere hope that as many of us as possible will attend this celebration making every effort to befriend someone new, resulting in true Jewish Unity, banishing the threats of Haman once and for all.

Mushky, the children, and I wish you a joyous Purim and a happy everyday.